Terrorism and cultural issues in Islam
As the latest barbarity of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square has demonstrated, fighting terror is difficult and it will keep Turkey and the world occupied for a long time. This is because it has sociologic and cultural resources that nurture it. This is the actual problem.
Regarding ISIL and its likes as a “conspiracy of global powers” is almost hiding it in a cloud of mysticism, whereas the “sociology” that lies at its roots has to be scrutinized.
Assuming that the reason for ISIL to attack Turkey is the government’s foreign policy would also prevent us from seeing this sociology. Didn’t ISIL attack Tunisia, which has no geographical or political connection with the Middle East? While criticizing our foreign policy, rational arguments should be used.
Since the Afghan jihad, almost for a quarter of a century, under different names and in different regions, “armed jihadists” have emerged. They have also poisoned the just struggle of the Chechens.
They grew with bloody clashes in Iraq and Syria; they also diversified. They added some appeal to the “terror mysticism” with Islamic slogans. Imagine, “beheading” is appealing to certain people; it does not prevent them from joining ISIL.
French political scientist Oliver Roy, who wrote the book “The Failure of Political Islam,” said this was the “Islamization of radicalism,” adding that “Jihadism is a nihilist rebellion unique to one generation.”
Even though there is no violence in conventional Salafism, when it became politicized and radicalized in our times, these “jihadist” organizations emerged.
Conservative Salafism focuses on the subject of “faith and practice.” It is very strict. For instance, according to them, “those who do not conduct their five-times a day prayers are infidels.”
Because they focus on these subjects, they are uninterested in politics. This suits the book of the Saudi rulers. While they discipline the public with “faith and practice” they can easily conduct their policies. They grant bases to the U.S.; they ally with the West.
However, as religion is politicized, since Salafism is a very strict faith, armed jihadists emerge mostly from Salafists.
The factor that gave birth to ISIL and its likes is the politicization of this strict faith and its adoption of violence. The issue is politicization and violence.
An expert on the subject, Prof. Mehmet Ali Büyükkara, at this point, drew attention to the radical political Islamist Safar al-Hawali from Saudi Arabia.
Büyükkara wrote, “In contrast with classic Salafi scholars who write mostly on faith and prayers, a major portion of al-Hawali’s works are allocated to the political issues of today’s Muslims.”
In other words, the politicization of faith…
Büyükkara went on: “When al-Hawali’s works are reviewed, it can be seen that he has a profile closer to an expert strategist instead of a theologian.”
In his books al-Hawali focuses on the Crusader-Zionist alliance and Islamophobia in the Christian world, Bükükkara said, adding that he had an “inward” delight from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In other words, a radical doctrine based on the concept of hostility. Its appeal lies there, just as the appeal of fascism and communism.
When we take into consideration that Muslims live in the ghettos of the West, in the world, in the Middle East in very adverse environments and especially with colonial trauma in their minds, then it can be seen how problematic cultural illnesses are and how serious the issues that create ISIL and the like are.
The negative energy created by the continuous injection of political hostility from Muslim thinkers, scholars and politicians for the use of Muslim societies, instead of, for instance, setting positive targets for society as Far Eastern countries do, causes massive terror tremors.
The most determined fight against terror should indeed be conducted but also the political and religious cultural issues in Islam societies should also be brought to the table.